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Urinary System Overview

Urinary System Overview

Author: Aaron Mullally

This lesson will identify the major structures and functions of the urinary system.

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Terms to Know
Bowman’s Capsule

A capsule that surrounds the glomeruli, Bowman’s capsule channels the filtered fluids from the glomerulus into the nephron.

Distal Convoluted Tubule

The last tubular part of the nephron, the distal convoluted tubule contains receptors for the hormone antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and aldosterone, which are both important for water and salt retention.


The tufts of capillaries in the kidneys where the filtration of blood occurs; glomeruli have unique filtering membranes that repel cells and proteins and allow only small substances (water, electrolytes, wastes, etc.) to be filtered out of blood.


The filtering organs of the urinary system, kidneys filter blood and process the filtrate to create urine. Kidneys are bean shaped organs about the size of a bar of soap and are located in the upper posterior abdominal cavity (retroperitoneal).

Loop of Henle

The second tubular part of the nephron, the loop of Henle dips down into the renal medulla and is the site where water conservation in the nephron occurs.


The functional units of the kidneys, nephrons are the microscopic tubular structures that filter blood and form urine. The nephron consists of the following parts: the proximal convoluted tubule, the nephron loop/Loop of Henle, the distal convoluted tubule, and distal convoluted tubules drain into collecting ducts.

Proximal Tubule

The first tubular part of the nephron, the proximal convoluted tubule is where the majority of reabsorption of wanted materials back into the blood occurs and conversely where most secretion out of the nephron occurs.


Tubular organs that transport urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder.


Hollow tubular organ transports urine out of the body as it is being expelled from the urinary bladder.

Urinary Bladder

The storage site for urine, once the bladder fills to a certain capacity it will empty (with help from the nervous system); this is micturition or urination.

Urinary System

An organ system that filters blood for the purpose of removing waste products (metabolic wastes) and excessive materials (water, electrolytes, etc.) from the body via urine. The major organs of the urinary system are the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and the urethra.